Future Business Leaders of America reaches students at WHS


Credit: Alex Janoff

Members of FBLA learn how to effectively invest money through stock market simulations. “You have to really know what you’re doing to be able to read the trends of different stocks, and be able to pick the time to buy and the time to sell, and be able to know when to cut your losses,” senior Myle Larsen said.

Alex Janoff

For chapter President Dean Tobia, Wayland’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter isn’t just a club. It’s a place where members can learn about and utilize an integral part of the United States economy: the stock market.

Tobia started learning about investments in stock at the age of twelve and had wanted to join a chapter.

“I tried to sign up, [but] Wayland didn’t have [an FBLA chapter],” Tobia said.

FBLA is a national organization with nearly a quarter of a million members in chapters in high schools across the country. According to Tobia, FBLA lacks a central curriculum, which gives chapters the ability to focus on and study whichever aspect of business they chose. The general focus of chapters around the country is business in general.

According to Tobia, what makes Wayland’s chapter different is the heavy focus on investing and wealth management.

“I decided to start [a chapter] because I like to focus the meetings on investing,” Tobia said. “I got to sit in on one meeting at the Lincoln-Sudbury chapter last year. They did a case study of a company.”

FBLA treasurer senior Myle Larsen is an active member of the club and enjoys learning about investing during the club meetings.

“Dean is obviously a very talented investor and this is somebody that is speaking from his experience,” Larsen said. “He’s teaching us how to do this thing that can really help us in our lives.”

Tobia’s ultimate goal is to make FBLA a forum for investing ideas and advice.

“I want [FBLA] to be a place where people can come and learn about different ways to manage money and investing, as an introduction to different kinds of investing and saving,” Tobia said. “It’s a place where different people can offer their own ideas and we can all learn from each other.”

This year, Tobia hopes to continue the focus on investing while opening the meetings up to whichever topic suits club members.

“It doesn’t have to just be me at the front of the room talking every time,” Tobia said. “If someone who’s in the club knows they can probably give a presentation on something, then FBLA will have one meeting that’s devoted to that. Marketing, management, stuff like that.”

Larsen is excited about this new proposal. He is interested in talking about business philosophy with the club, a topic not usually discussed at Wayland’s FBLA.

“I’ve been really interested in the stuff they teach at [a] business school,” Larsen said. “I could present something by Clayton Christensen called the innovator’s dilemma, which is essentially this process of businesses emerging that takes the least profitable part of a very big business’s cash flow.”

For prospective members, Future Business Leaders of America meets in B225 on Wednesday afternoons two or three times per month. Tobia encourages anyone who thinks they may have an interest in business to attend a meeting.

“It’s a really good place to put your foot in the water and get an understanding of what a career in business might be like,” Tobia said. “It’s good to know how to invest or at least how the stock market works, even if you don’t invest.”